The cost of transforming a patch of run-down East London real estate into the beating heart of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and then a multi-use venue that will serve as football club West Ham United’s leased home is set to exceed £700 million ($1.1 billion/€978 million).
This follows the announcement that contract costs for transformation of the £429 million (£681 million/€600 million) former Olympic Stadium have been confirmed by the London Legacy Development Corporation at £272 million ($432 million/€380 million).
A statement released on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park website today claimed that the cost reflected the “huge scale of the works undertaken to transform the former Olympic venue from a temporary athletics stadium into a year-round multi-use arena capable of delivering world class sporting and cultural events”.
Work included removal of the original roof and light paddles and installation of a new permanent roof said to be the largest of its kind in the world.
A retractable seating system, designed to bring football and rugby spectators close to the pitch, required the removal of the lower seating bowl.
Other works included installing catering facilities, toilets and turnstiles.
Work is to pause this year to permit the venue to host five Rugby World Cup fixtures and a number of other events.
The Stadium is then due re-open permanently in 2016.
The cost and extent of the reconfiguration work underline the challenge of ensuring a viable long-term future for a main Olympic Stadium, utilised typically for athletics, ceremonies and sometimes football, even in a major world centre such as London.
David Goldstone, LLDC chief executive, said: “We have invested in transforming a temporary athletics venue into a permanent world class multi-use arena that has a secure and long-term sustainable future.
“This has required a significant amount of work and innovative engineering solutions.
“Alongside the transformation work, the deals signed with British Athletics and West Ham United, and the appointment of a stadium operator [Vinci], ensures the Stadium will pay its way and not require any continuing subsidy from the taxpayer.”
Premier League West Ham plan to play at the venue from the start of the 2016-2017 season, while it will also host the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships.
It was announced last October that roof issues had entailed an increase in the value of a contract with construction group Balfour Beatty from £154 million ($244 million/€215 million) to £189.9 million ($301.4 million/€265.4 million).
Today's release emphasised that the legacy for the local community adjacent to the stadium would include up to 100,000 free tickets a year to West Ham matches.
February 2015: Floodlights fitted at London 2012 Olympic Stadium as preparations continue for Rugby World Cup
February 2015: French company awarded 25-year contract to manage London 2012 Olympic Stadium
January 2015: West Ham United appoint project manager to ensure Olympic Stadium "looks and feels" like home
November 2014: Milestone first roof panel laid in London Olympic Stadium transformation
October 2014: Problems with roof forces £36 million London 2012 Olympic Stadium conversion cost hike